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CFL Bulbs May Not Be All They’re Cracked Up To Be

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I recently moved in an apartment and one of the first things I did was purchase some compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) light bulbs to replace my old incandescent ones. CFL bulbs are intended to be an energy saving alternative to incandescent bulbs since they use less electricity and actually have higher light output (measured in lumens).

CFL bulbs are so popular and wave-of-the-future-like that my power company even offered to send me a 15 pack of them free; quite the value when you consider that I paid nearly $25 for just four of them the other day. Power companies across the country are, I’m guessing, getting some type of grant or kickback for promoting CFLs, which is at least part of the reason they offered them to customers for free.

But some folks are questioning whether CFL bulbs are always a good bet and whether they’re appropriate for most households since they’ve been shown to release higher levels of UV radiation than regular incandescent bulbs. A recent report in Photochemistry and Photobiology says that skin exposed to CFL light experienced the kind of damage you’d expect from ultraviolet radiation – causing some to hypothesize that those with sensitive skin could be adversely affected by these types of lights.

Now, I’m in my late 20s (but still clearly within the folly of my youth), so it’s not particularly surprising I’m not much affected by some newfangled report that warns me about the dangers of products I use every single day; because it seems like it happens, well, every single day. It is, however, interesting to hear about an item that’s so widely marketed as easy no-brainer-feel-good purchase suddenly seeming kind of scary.

What’s your take on CFL bulbs? Helpful or Hazardous? Leave it in the comments below.


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